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How Will Detroit Lions Address Loss of Jeff Okudah?

Here is a look at the several options the Detroit Lions will explore to fill the void left by cornerback Jeff Okudah's injury.

The Detroit Lions' secondary was dealt a major blow when it was reported that second-year cornerback Jeff Okudah was lost for the 2021 season after suffering an Achilles' injury. 

After struggling to contain quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers' offense, it's back to the drawing board for Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant. 

Okudah's injury leaves Amani Oruwariye to shoulder the burden of covering opponents' top receivers. 

Detroit will likely turn to rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu and other young members of the roster to step in and compete for reps at the position. 

Detroit head coach Dan Campbell commented on Monday, “Look, he’s (Melifonwu) been working hard, and he quietly has really improved. He’s another guy from spring that has just quietly had a good spring and a good camp. There’s a good chance he’s the next guy up. But look, we’ve got two other young guys, too, in Bobby Price and (Jerry) Jacobs."

Campbell added, "We’re going to put the best combination out there and see where we go. But, listen, it’s next man up, and we said that from day one. It doesn’t matter who’s in there, all that matters is who’s in there does what they’re asked to do and does it the very best that they can do it.”


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Detroit surprised some when the final 53-man roster was announced, since the team decided to keep three undrafted rookie free-agent cornerbacks in A.J. Parker, Bobby Price and Jerry Jacobs. 

Each will now have the opportunity to prove why the decision was made to keep them on the roster. 

"The guys that are still here are the guys that we like. The only way they’re going to get better is if they play," Campbell said. 

With the team being down a roster spot, it is expected that general manager Brad Holmes will also look to add a veteran defensive back to the roster, sooner rather than later.  

"We need to add someone just to help us on the overall roster, even from a practice standpoint," Campbell noted. "We’re looking into that, Brad's looking into it and that’s coming. That will probably be sooner than later. It’ll be somebody that’s going to help us, just overall depth for sure.”

If Detroit looks to its practice squad, it could decide to bring up veteran Nickell Robey-Coleman or Parnell Motley.